GPS Use Projected To Top 370 Million Worldwide - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices

GPS Use Projected To Top 370 Million Worldwide

Traffic information is the most in-demand mobile navigation feature according to ABI Research, which predicts a more than six fold increase in GPS users by 2015.

The number of traffic information users globally is expected to grow to more than 370 million by 2015, up from 57 million this year, according to new data from ABI Research, which also found that traffic information remains the most important feature of mobile navigation services.

"Navigation users continue to appreciate the value of traffic information allowing calculation of the fastest routes and accurate Estimated Times of Arrival (ETA) predictions. The emergence of historic speed profiles and predictive traffic information has extended the use case to trip planning," said Dominique Bonte, Telematics and Navigation practice director at ABI Research in a statement.

According to ABI, GPS probe data is becoming more widely available as more handset makers are including navigation functionality as a standard feature, oftentimes for free. This is leading to increasing adoption of high-speed cellular connectivity technologies, which are replacing RDS-TMC and satellite broadcast technologies. However, the lack of accuracy of cellular probe data as the main source for traffic applications continues to be a major issue for providers like TomTom, IntelliOne, AirSage and Cellint.

Major navigation vendors like Nokia and Google offer traffic information as part of their free navigation services by using probe data from their customer bases, according to ABI Research's study, Traffic Information Systems. Smaller brands are shifting to lifetime traffic offers bundled with the navigation device or software.

This will motivate independent traffic information vendors like INRIX, TrafficCast and ITIS to reduce their prices while increasing data quality, the report said. To help offset their declining revenues in the competitive mobile and consumer electronics segments, these vendors must market themselves to the high margin automotive and government segments, ABI Research said. And the field is growing, as startups like Waze and Aha Mobile have entered the low end of the market with traffic information based on passive and/or active community feedback, the report noted.

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